Rhubarb Relish

Rhubarb Relish
Rhubarb Relish

There is nothing like homemade relish, all natural and no preservatives.  Today, I am sharing my recipe for Rhubarb Relish.  My grandmother made a similar relish every year and, while she served it with many dishes, you could always count on it being on the table with either cold or hot roast pork.

This is a very versatile relish as it can be used as a spread on sandwiches as it compliments many meats well.  It can also be served over chicken breasts, grilled pork chops, or even fish.  Having this on hand makes meal preparation easy as you don’t have to prepare a sauce from scratch and you don’t need to open a store-bought version that will not have the same taste and is probably full of some kind of preservatives.

This recipe does not take any unusual ingredients and there are very few steps in the processing.

My Island Bistro Kitchen’s Rhubarb Relish

Ingredients:

2 cups rhubarb, cut in about 1/2″ pieces
2 cups onion, chopped
2 cups brown sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp allspice
dash cayenne
1/8 tsp pepper
1/2 tbsp grated orange rind
1/2 cup cider vinegar

Method:

Wash and chop rhubarb into 1/2″ pieces.

Assemble ingredients.

In a medium-sized saucepan, combine all ingredients.

Stir.

Bring mixture to a boil over medium-high heat.  Immediately reduce heat to medium-low and simmer gently, uncovered, until mixture reduces and thickens.  Stir occasionally.  Be patient.  This will take at least 1 1/2 – 2 hours.

Remove from heat.

Sterilize jars.  Bottle while relish is still hot.  Seal.  Finger-tip tighten jar lids. Process in hot water bath according to manufacturer’s directions.

Yield:  Apx. 3 cups

Rhubarb Relish
Rhubarb Relish

Serving Suggestion:

Grill pork chops.  Plate.  Top pork chop with 1 to 1 1/2 tbsp rhubarb relish.

Serve with baked potato and favorite vegetable.

Grilled Pork Chop topped with Rhubarb Relish and Served with Baked PEI Potato and Buttered Carrots
Grilled Pork Chop topped with Rhubarb Relish and Served with Baked PEI Potato and Buttered Carrots

 

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Rhubarb Vinaigrette

Summertime means lots of fresh salads.  I like to make my own vinaigrettes because they are not full of preservatives and they are easy to make.

Regular followers of my blog will know that I love the quality balsamic vinegars and olive oils I get from the Liquid Gold store here in Charlottetown, PEI.  I jokingly say I have almost as many varieties in my cupboard as they have in the store!  There are so many combinations of vinegars and oils that each salad dressing is a new adventure and a new flavor.

This evening I decided to make a Rhubarb Vinaigrette because I have a rhubarb patch in my back yard.  Rhubarb pairs well with citrus and I have a bottle of grapefruit balsamic vinegar and one of mandarin orange infused olive oil.  These three ingredients along with some orange juice are the basis for my salad dressing.

Rhubarb Vinaigrette

1 cup rhubarb, sliced
¼ cup orange juice
2 tbsp maple syrup
2 tsp grapefruit balsamic vinegar
½ tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 small green onion, minced
1 tsp J.J. Stewart’s Dill and Chardonnay Maple Mustard Sauce
¼ cup Mandarin-infused olive oil
Pinch of fine sea salt
½ tsp minced or puréed garlic (optional)

Assemble ingredients.

In small saucepan, combine the rhubarb and orange juice. Heat over medium heat and cook until rhubarb has completely softened, about 5-7 minutes. Stir frequently to prevent scorching. Let cool.  When cool, use an immersion blender to purée the mixture.

Add the maple syrup, vinegar, lemon juice, green onion, mustard, olive oil, sea salt, and garlic (if using). Stir well to combine.

Serve over your favourite salad. Keep refrigerated in covered bottle for up to 1 week.

Yield: 1 cup

For this salad, I used a simple bed of fresh mixed salad greens, slices of pink grapefruit, blueberries, raspberries, red onion, and goats cheese.  I have been growing sprouts this spring so added a handful to add texture, flavor, and appearance to the salad.  A drizzle of the  coral-red colored Rhubarb Vinaigrette added the finishing touch.

The Rhubarb Vinaigrette is very versatile as it can be used on either a fruit- or vegetable-based salad.

Thank you for visiting “the Bistro” today.

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Rhubarb and Orange Muffins

Our rhubarb is in full swing on PEI. The photo below is of two crowns of rhubarb I started several years ago so it is quite a mature patch now. It has very deep ruby-red stalks.

Mature Rhubarb Patch
Mature Rhubarb Patch

Rhubarb is so versatile as it can be used in pies, puddings, marmalades, jams, tortes, baked goods, sauces, drinks, and so much more.  And, it freezes well for year-round use.

Rhubarb and Orange Muffins
Rhubarb and Orange Muffins

Today, I am sharing my recipe for Rhubarb and Orange Muffins.  I am always looking for uses for rhubarb and, because we have our own patch, it gives me great incentive to be creative.

For these muffins, I have used grated orange rind and a small amount of orange juice to give a little zest and enhanced flavor to them.  

Rhubarb pairs very well with citrus fruits.

The key to using rhubarb in muffins and sweet breads is not to add too much rhubarb as it contains a lot of water and, if too much is used, can make the baked goods somewhat soggy.  I have tested this recipe several times and have concluded that 7 1/4 ounces ( or between 1 1/2 – 1 2/3 cups) of diced rhubarb is a good amount to use.

The other factor to keep in mind is that the rhubarb stalks should be quite thin (about 1/2″ to 3/4″ wide) for dicing as opposed to some larger and wider stalks (some of ours grow to be almost 2″ wide).

Rhubarb Stalks
Rhubarb Stalks

While you can split a large rhubarb stalk in half, lengthwise, it does tend to make the rhubarb bleed and the chunks don’t seem to hold their shape as well when baked in the muffins.  You can use either fresh or frozen rhubarb in this recipe.  In fact, I freeze the measured out amount of diced rhubarb in labeled freezer bags so they are ready to be used for muffins throughout the year.

The streusal topping for these muffins is optional but it does add both flavor and crunchiness to the muffins along with an attractive appearance.

Streusal-topped Rhubarb Muffin
Streusal-topped Rhubarb Muffin

To get that lovely dome-shaped muffin, you need to use a relatively high oven temperature – i.e., 400F or 425F.  

To get that lovely dome-shaped muffin, you need to use a relatively high oven temperature – i.e., 400F or 425F. 

To get that lovely dome-shaped muffin, you need to use a relatively high oven temperature – i.e., 400F or 425F. In my rhubarb muffin recipe, I use a preheated 400F oven.  Using the high temperature allows the outside of the muffin to quickly set while still allowing the inside to continue to rise.  This also gives that nice, soft muffin top crust.  We have all seen those flat-topped muffins and they don’t look as appealing as a nicely domed muffin does.

Rhubarb and Orange Muffin
Rhubarb and Orange Muffin

The texture of a good muffin should be somewhat “open” as you don’t want a finely-textured cake batter for muffins.  A good muffin will have a loose, coarse interior crumb.  When mixing the batter, do not overmix as this will cause the muffins to be tough, rubbery, and somewhat heavy.  Stir just until the dry ingredients are barely incorporated.  In fact, in muffins in which I am adding fruit (which gets added last, using the “folding” technique), I don’t completely incorporate all the dry ingredients to the wet because, when the fruit is folded in, the dry ingredients will get further incorporated then.  The batter should be lumpy, not smooth.

Open, loose crumb texture of muffin
Open, loose crumb texture of muffin

The other thing to keep in mind is not to overbake the muffins.  I have found, in my oven, that 18 minutes bakes these rhubarb muffins perfectly but, as you know, every oven is a bit different.  I suggest checking the muffins at about the 15-16 minute mark and, just as soon as they spring back to a light finger touch, remove them from the oven.  Overbaking will result in a dry, unappealing muffin and it only takes a couple of minutes for muffins to be overbaked so keep a close watch on them as they bake.  To double-check doneness, you can also use a toothpick or cake tester inserted into the center of a muffin – if it comes out clean, the muffins are done.  Let the baked muffins rest in the baking tin for 5-7 minutes, then transfer them to a wire rack to finish cooling.

My Island Bistro Kitchen’s Rhubarb and Orange Muffins

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
¼ cup rolled oats
⅔ cup brown sugar, packed
2 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
½ tsp cinnamon
1 tbsp grated orange rind
1 egg, lightly beaten
1½ tsp vanilla
⅔ cup sour milk
¼ cup orange juice
¼ cup cooking oil
7¼ oz finely chopped rhubarb, cut into ¼-inch chunks (about 1½ – 1⅔ cups)

Method:
Assemble ingredients.

Preheat oven to 400°. Grease 12 muffin cups.

In large bowl, combine first nine (9) ingredients. Mix well. Make a well in the center.

In separate bowl, combine the egg, vanilla, sour milk, orange juice, and cooking oil. Mix well. Pour into well in dry ingredients. Mix only to barely combine dry ingredients. Do not overmix.

Gently fold in rhubarb.

Mix streusal (recipe and instructions follow)

Spoon batter into muffin cups, filling each about ¾ full. Top with streusel mixture.

Bake for about 18 minutes, or until muffins spring back to a light touch or a toothpick or cake tester inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean.

Let muffins stand in baking tin for 5-7 minutes then carefully remove them and transfer them to a wire rack to finish cooling.

Streusal Topping
¼ cup + 2 tbsp flour
3 tbsp brown sugar
2 tbsp chopped pecans
½ tsp cinnamon
3 tbsp butter

Method:
Combine dry ingredients. Cut in butter to make a crumb mixture.

Spoon over tops of muffins. Bake as described above.

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Thank you for visiting “the Bistro” today.

There are lots of ways to connect with “the Bistro” through social media:

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Rhubarb Custard Torte

Rhubarb Custard Torte
Rhubarb Custard Torte

The rhubarb in my garden is ready for using.  I am fascinated by how fast it grows.  While I freeze a substantial amount for use over the winter, there is nothing like scooting out to the garden to pick some fresh rhubarb just at the time I am making a recipe.

I have my usual, regular recipes that I make every year with rhubarb and generally try one or two new ones.  One of my all-time favorites is Rhubarb Custard Torte.  We’ve been making this recipe in our family for as long as I can remember.  It’s not overly difficult to make but it does take time since there are three stages to it:  1) the shortbread base; 2) the rhubarb custard filling; and 3) the meringue.

The most tricky part is making the rhubarb custard and ensuring it doesn’t scorch while it is cooking and thickening.  To ensure this doesn’t happen, cook it at medium-low temperature and stir it constantly.  A couple of other tips when making this recipe are, first, don’t overbake the base as it will become hard and somewhat tough.  Second, when making the meringue, make sure the egg whites, the bowl, and beater are all cold and add the sugar slowly.

I love the rich, ruby red color of the rhubarb!  Use the brightest red rhubarb you can find as it will give great color to your recipe.

Rhubarb Custard Torte

Shortbread Base:
½ cup butter, softened at room temperature
1 cup flour
Pinch salt
2 tbsp sugar

Cream butter. Mix in flour, salt, and sugar.

Lightly spray cooking oil into 8”x8” pan and press shortbread mixture evenly into pan.

Bake in 325ºF oven for 22-25 minutes. Remove from oven and cool on rack.

Custard Filling:
1¼ cups sugar
3½ tbsp flour
½ cup whole milk, evaporated milk, or blend
3 large egg yolks (reserve whites in refrigerator for the meringue)
2¼ cups chopped rhubarb

In medium-sized saucepan, combine the sugar and flour. Blend in the milk. Whisk in the egg yolks. Over medium-low heat, cook mixture just until hot (not boiling), stirring constantly. Add the rhubarb. Continue to cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly to prevent scorching, until mixture thickens.

Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature. Then, spread rhubarb custard over cooled shortbread base.

Preheat oven to 425°F.

Meringue:
3 cold egg whites
¼ cup sugar

In chilled bowl of stand mixer, beat the three egg whites on high speed until foamy. Gradually add the ¼ cup white sugar and beat on high speed until soft peaks form.

Spread meringue evenly over rhubarb custard, ensuring custard is completely covered.

Bake for 7-10 minutes, just until meringue starts to brown.

Cool completely before serving.

Yield: 9 servings

Enjoy with a fine cup of coffee or tea.